In this episode of the PPMP Podcast, my interesting conversation with Sarah Munn of Barefoot Therapists revolves around growing and building her team and unique private practice based on a farm. We talk about their team, business model and navigating the NDIS in the perspective of the parent and business owner.
Barefoot Therapists provides group and individual specialist services for children from a skilled team of occupation therapists, speech pathologists, provisional psychologists, and dietitians. They offer an Equine Facilitated Therapy Program by therapists who are experienced with horses. They also offer clinic appointments at the Barefoot Child & Family Therapy Centre.
Sarah’s Experience with the NDIS as a Parent
Sarah personally had a great experience with NDIS. The NDIS gave her an opportunity to reflect on her overall life. It gave her a chance to clear her head so that she could be more present for her children.
The activities aren’t all about therapy. There are fun things that kids can do. There are also things around community participation which she likes.
It’s also good to know that the NDIS is not just about giving therapy to children but to parents as well. At Barefoot Therapists, they provide parent coaching, talk to parents about what to do in an NDIS review, and so much more.
We need to remember that parents go through different stages of grief too. It can take time when working on it but, to her, to have gone through the NDIS and to know you can use this as a reset is very useful.
Tracking the NDIS from a business scientist perspective
They receive so many inquiries. This has been difficult for them because they want to make sure that they are offering the right kind of services and charging the right fees. They are actually, at the moment, having a big philosophical discussion about staying registered or not.
Staying registered to the NDIS is expensive. It has kept some of their fees lower than what is usually charged in the case of other practices. So it also involves an ethical and financial discussion on their part as a business.
On the financial side, business expenses are a given. Also, you have to pay to stay a part of the NDIS and to be assessed.
On another side, there are some considerations that they also have to do in terms of working with clients in their practice. They are now taking in teens and young adults along with working with children. This is because they have kids over 8 who haven’t had the services for a while because they didn’t get the funding for many years.
They offer services in their clinic that lets kids experience and learn skills in a home away from home. They can make beds; take care of laundry; prepare, cook and eat food; do some social skills – really good old-fashioned skills. So much goes on with that kind of thing.
They are currently not taking referrals for adults because they have been so blessed with adult clients. Kids, on the other hand, whom they are seeing for a year or 2 and are really are kicking goals with them are taken in a bit longer. So the business grows with them. They are then moved into more of a coaching model.
Everyone’s still getting their heads around NDIS as a sacred practice. But she thinks imagining the next couple of years is more of considering who’s in the geographical area or why they aren’t sitting down more. Sarah feels that we need to sit down with each other more because it’s happening less and less, everyone’s trying to work it out. The NDIS isn’t rolled out all that long in their area. They’re still getting used to it. It’s still only less than 2 years in.
Her worries about the NDIS
She’s very worried about people that don’t have enough, those who don’t have therapists yet because they have no money to get therapy. They’ve got nobody other than the GP to get them in the door on the program.
Anyone that rings them up and says they don’t have NDIS and tells us a bit about their child and who they think may be eligible they just say “come in, talk to us to help you get started.” That is good for business because they’ll come back with a package if they help them. But if nobody ever helps them, there’ll never be any money to help them.